More than two years after she vanished during a visit to a Los Angeles museum, a skull and other remains found on a burned Southern California hillside were determined to be those of a missing Manhattan Beach woman, her husband said Wednesday.
Nancy Paulikas, who had early-onset Alzheimer's disease, was 55 years old when she wandered away from her husband at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Oct. 15, 2016. The disappearance was the inspiration for a county-wide program that uses trackable bracelets to help find missing people.
Paulikas' death was confirmed after the discovery of a charred partial skull, according to the county coroner's office, which listed her date of death as March 11, 2017. The remains were found on a steep hillside that burned above Sherman Oaks on that date.
The coroner's office listed her cause and manner of death as undetermined.
Her husband, Kirk Moody, said he heard from police that the skull and some ribs were determined to be Paulikas' remains.
"I heard from the police today that they have identified a skull and some ribs as positively matching Nancy's DNA," he said.
Moody, who spoke with NBC4 in October 2016 about his wife's disappearance, said he had no details as to the cause of death. He said that "it seems clear she met her demise in an unfortunate manner."
Moody and the rest of Paulikas' family had been holding out hope she would be found in a care facility. Paulikas was last seen on security video that showed her walking west on McCarthy Vista near the time she disappeared.
A $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to Paulikas' safe return.
Her husband, who met Paulikas when both worked together, said he hoped her case would raise awareness and "inspire efforts to better address issues with at-risk people going missing." Paulikas' disappearance became the inspiration for LA Found, a countywide program to find individuals using trackable bracelets, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said.
"I am heartbroken," Hahn said. "For two years we have kept hope alive that Nancy would be found safe and could be reunited with her family. I want to thank everyone who continued to search for Nancy. May she rest in peace."